Authorities search for escaped Florida inmate

Mugshots of Anthony Ray Barnes: Undated photo, left; 2021 mugshot, right (Escambia County Sheriff's Office/Florida Department of Corrections)

Deputies in north Florida are asking for the public's help to find an inmate who escaped custody.

The Escambia County Sheriff's Office said 29-year-old Anthony Ray Barnes escaped from Florida Department of Corrections custody on Wednesday.

Barnes, who was a work-release inmate, had been assigned to hold traffic signs, investigators said.

He checked in with a correctional officer just after 2 p.m., but it wasn't until around 6:30 p.m. that investigators discovered Barnes had removed his ankle monitor and left the state's work-release program.

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The Florida Department of Corrections asked the sheriff's office to assist in their search for Barnes at 9 p.m. that night. He has not been seen since.

Investigators said Barnes' last known location was at the intersection of Mobile Highway and Boulder Ave in Bellview, Florida.

Barnes is 6'1" tall, weighs 215 lbs., and has blue eyes with brown hair that the sheriff's office described as balding.

"Barnes has an extensive arrest record with multiple felony charges including battery, drug violations, and burglary," the sheriff's office said. "He is currently serving time for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and fleeing and eluding from Santa Rosa County."

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Barnes was sentenced in January 2021 to 3 years in prison. He has served two previous sentences in Florida, according to state prison records: 3 years for burglary and grand theft with a firearm back in 2014, and 1 year for grand theft auto and possession of methamphetamine in 2017.

Escambia deputies believe Barnes may be in neighboring Santa Rosa County with 25-year-old Dalton Dakota Ballard, who is also wanted for fleeing and eluding by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information on Barnes' whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP, or the Escambia County Sheriff's Office at 850-436-9620.